Helena (1831-1925) was the daughter of Benjamin Kutz and Sarah Sittler. She was one of three children; her brothers were Daniel and William. Her father, Benjamin, inherited the Kutz farm, which consisted of most of the land that is now Kutztown University. The farm was passed on to her brother William. Helena married Jonathan Biehl and she is buried at St.John’s Lutheran Church, the one pictured on her sampler.
She stitched her sampler at the Mason Pay School. William Mason‘s school was in existence from about 1835 to 1850 and was located in several locations. Most of the known samplers were made around 1840. It appears that William's wife, Elizabeth Hains only taught for part of the time in the schools existence. Helena stitched Old St.John’s Union Church and the Franklin Academy on her sampler. The Franklin Acadamy still survives to this day and is now a private residence and was across the street from where St.John’s stood. According to “old timers” it never had a bell tower on it as shown on the samplers, perhaps Elizabeth used her artistic license when she added it, to balance out the one on St.John’s. On an opposite corner a small log building stands, now re-clad with siding, which might have been the Mason Pay School. The two buildings, stitched on the sampler, could be viewed from the school and were Elizabeth Mason’s inspiration. William supposedly married Elizabeth for her money!! A lot of the children in town were afraid of him because he spoke English and they only spoke PA Dutch.
Additional known samplers from Mason's Pay School were made by Susannah Kemp, Catharine Reeser, Jane Catharine Esser, Mary Butz, and Caroline Bieber.
This sampler is in the collection of the Kutztown Historical Society.
The reproduction is worked entirely in tent and basket weave stitch.
Size: 12.5” x 11” (32cm x 28cm).
Thread Count: 35 count (14 thr/cm) linen
Recommended Level: Intermediate
Cost: S152.00 with silk, cht. $32.00
Categories: , Pennsylvania German, North American / Mexico
All prices are in US Dollars.